Two major auction houses have capitalized on the increasing interest in dog pictures. Alexander Meddowes initiated specialist dog sales at Bonhams eight years ago to coincide with the Crufts dog show. Bonhams has held these successful auctions ever since, and this year’s Dogs in Art, to be held on February 12, promises to include the usual three hundred or so lots of dog paintings, prints and water-colours. Alistair Laird, who now organizes these sales, is delighted that this year’s auction contains so many rare early works, including a captivating picture by Stephen Taylor of three spaniels. Alexander Meddowes, who left Bonhams to join Christie’s some years ago, now heads the picture department at South Kensington, where he introduced dog sales, entitled Man’s Best Friends, last year. At this year’s auction, on February 14, is Arthur Wardle’s enchanting picture, La jaie de Vivre. Nineteenth-century dog pictures need not be prohibitively expensive. Oil paintings by lesser-known artists will cost £200-500, and for watercolours or drawings the price may be much less. In the salerooms, attractive dog portraits tend to be the most sought-after, and private collectors 1 The multi-national, multi-era assembly in the dining-area includes 1904 Thonet chairs from Austria, Art Deco china bought in Chicago, Orrefors glass from Sweden and a table-cloth specially painted by Hannerle Dehn in London. 2 Black lacquered units were custom-made for the kitchen. 3 The bathroom retains the existing bath. 4 and 5 The bedroom has a Louis XVI chimneypiece from Thornhill Galleries in London and a seventeenth-century Spanish walnut desk.
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